Heavy rare earth elements (HREE) are dominantly mined from the weathering crusts of granites in South China. Although weathering processes occur globally, no economic HREE resources of this type have yet been found outside China. Here, we report the occurrence of unidentified REE minerals in the granites from South Chinese deposits. They contain high levels of both HREE and light REE, but are strongly depleted in Ce, implying high oxidation state. These REE minerals show higher initial Nd isotope ratio than primary REE-rich minerals (eNd(t)=0.9±0.8 versus -11.5±0.5). The mineralized weathering crusts inherited REE signature of the granites, but show more Ce depletion and more overall concentration of the REE. We propose, therefore, that highly oxidized, REE-rich fluids, derived from external, isotopically depleted sources, metasomatized the granites, which resulted in Ce depletion as Ce4+ and enrichment of the remaining REE, especially the HREE, contributing to formation of a globally important REE resource.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Feb 2017|
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- School of Applied Sciences - Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Ex
- Centre for Earth Observation Science
- Applied Geosciences Research and Enterprise Group
- Centre for Aquatic Environments